Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) and thromboxane synthase (TBXAS) are important enzymes involved in the arachidonic acid pathway and synthesis of prostaglandins. We examined COX-2 and TBXAS immunoreactivity in 150 surgically resected thyroid specimens using immunohistochemistry to determine expression in benign and malignant thyroid lesions and to examine their roles in thyroid tumor progression. Papillary thyroid carcinomas and follicular carcinomas expressed higher levels of COX-2 compared to follicular adenomas and adenomatous nodules. We showed for the first time that TBXAS was expressed in thyroid tissues, with higher levels in papillary carcinomas compared to nonneoplastic and benign thyroid tissues. Western blot was performed on seven thyroid samples.
These results indicate that both COX-2 and TBXAS are expressed in benign and malignant thyroid tissues. Although some malignant thyroid tumors showed higher levels of COX-2 expression, COX-2 and TBXAS are probably not useful in the immunohistochemical diagnosis of thyroid malignancies. However, the expression of both COX-2 and TBXAS by thyroid tissue may provide insight into the role of these enzymes in progression from benign to malignant thyroid tumors.